CM Vijayan attacks Rahul Gandhi over missing flags in roadshow ( Lead)

Thiruvananthapuram, April 4 (IANS) Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday slammed Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party for showing 'disrespect' to their party flag.

CM Vijayan was referring to how the Congress on Wednesday decided not to display flags of its own and that of its ally IUML during the roadshow ahead of Rahul Gandhi's filing of nomination papers for the Wayanad Lok Sabha.

“They got scared of the BJP as in 2019 when Rahul came to file his nomination papers and at their roadshow, the green flags of the IUML and the Congress flags were tied together. The BJP used the pictures to campaign in North India stating that these were Pakistani flags. Do the Congress leaders here know what the Congress flags used to depict during the pre-independence struggle,” asked CM Vijayan.

“The Congress party wants the vote of the IUML, but not their flag and for that, the Congress party also decided to forego their flag. This act doesn’t augur well and the Congress is afraid of the BJP,” added CM Vijayan.

He also took potshots at K.C.Venugopal, the Congress general secretary and a Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan.

“Even though he has two more years before his term ends, he decided to contest from Alappuzha and this was done to ensure that in case he wins, then a by-election to the Upper House from Rajasthan will be held and the BJP will win it. At the moment the BJP doesn’t have a majority in the Upper House and is short by four seats. This is being done to help the BJP, but the people at Alappuzha (where Venugopal is contesting) will ensure that his seat is intact in the Upper House as he will be defeated here,” added CM Vijayan.

The Chief Minister slammed the Enforcement Directorate for its probe into the real estate major DLF in 2019. “A few years later all know that when the involvement of Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra surfaced, everything just disappeared,” said the CM.

He alleged that he suspected a secret deal that Congress had struck with the SDPI (the political arm of the now-banned PFI). The SDPI early this week decided to support the UDF, and the CPI(M) and BJP went hammer and tongs on this.

K.C. Venugopal, however, hit back at CM Vijayan and said that he need not worry about what the Congress party does and instead, he should be more worried about the way Kerala has slid down on all fronts.

“Has anyone ever heard CM Vijayan attacking PM Modi, instead he attacks Rahul Gandhi and all know why he is doing this,” said Venugopal.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said CM Vijayan need not be overly concerned about the Congress party. “CM Vijayan should be more worried about his party and the Congress doesn’t require any advice from him. CM Vijayan is afraid of PM Modi and all his acts of attacking the Congress party is to help PM Modi and keep him in good humour,” said Satheesan.

He also said, "Congress party is the one which strongly opposes both minority communalism and majority communalism and we do not want the support of the SDPI."

Reacting to the flag controversy, IUML General Secretary P.M.A. Salam slammed CM Vijayan and wrote on his Facebook page that while they are working hard to ensure that the national flag is intact, CM Vijayan is keener to ensure the CPI(M) can retain their national party status.

“It’s understandable why CM Vijayan is jittery as every sector in our state is in shambles. Moreover, the SNC Lavalin case in which he is a party is being repeatedly postponed in the apex court. All know that CM Vijayan has always been at the forefront of appeasing the Sangh Parivar forces. CM Vijayan and the Sangh Parivar forces are two sides of the same coin. Like the BJP, CM Vijayan also doesn’t wish that the Congress comes to power as he knows all his cases will return to haunt him and hence he has raised the ‘flag’ issue,” said Salam.

The IUML is the second biggest ally of the Congress-led UDF.


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